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Exceptional Circumstances

Is your work being affected by illness or personal circumstances?

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Sometimes unexpected things can happen that have an impact on your studies. The Exceptional Circumstances (EC) process is available to let your School(s) know that you are having problems. You can request either an extension of five working days, a further assessment opportunity, or a placement deferral.

The ECs process has recently changed, so make sure you understand the new rules. We've written a brief summary of the process below, but please visit our ECs webpage to get the full information.


What is an EC?

You can get an automatic extension of five working days without needing to explain your circumstances (this does not apply to exams).

For other ECs requests there isn’t a definitive list of circumstances that will be accepted - each case is considered individually. However, the University emphasises that ECs should be unforeseen and has previously listed the following common examples: 

  • Acute illness or injury
  • Extended illness or injury
  • Bereavement
  • Significant domestic and/or personal problems
  • Court Attendance
  • Unforeseen Work Commitment (Part-Time/Distance Learning/PG students only)
  • Unforeseen representation of County or Country at Sport
  • Active Exercise of Citizenship
  • Unforeseen Major Transport Difficulties
  • Acute Illness of another person
  • Victim of Criminal Activity

Don’t worry if your circumstances don’t fit within the above examples, you can still submit a claim under the 'Other' category.


Are there any circumstances that won’t be accepted?

Claims are considered on an individual basis, but there are some circumstances that are not usually accepted:

  • Mistaking the date/time of an examination or coursework deadline
  • General pressure of academic work e.g. a number of assignments with similar deadlines, as you are expected to plan your work schedule
  • Employment commitments (for undergrads)
  • Alarm failure on the morning of the examination
  • Holiday
  • Family events
  • Personal computer/other IT device failure as you should have taken adequate precautionary measures e.g. backups - but this has been relaxed during the pandemic
  • Not leaving adequate time to access IT equipment/printing facilities
  • Non-compatibility of your IT equipment with University IT equipment, as it is expected that you should have planned and checked that it was possible to transfer files from your computer to the University systems well before the assessment deadlines
  • Religious observance – such issues are not unforeseen and students should submit a 'special provisions' claim to their Schools or Exams - see Personalised Exam Arrangements for more details.


How do I submit ECs?

You must submit ECs on the approved online form on eVision; it is not enough just to tell your tutor.

If you are asking for an extension you do not need to give a reason; extensions of five working days are applied automatically.

If you are asking for another assessment opportunity the online form will ask you for some details about your circumstances. Try to give details on what has happened and how this has affected your ability to study. ECs claims are treated confidentially and only specific members of staff will have access to the details of your claim.

ASK can help you to complete the form if any part of it doesn’t make sense. The University has a guide on how to complete an ECs form.


Is there a deadline to submit an EC form?

Requests for an extension must be made before the deadline. Your School should tell you when this is, as they must know about your ECs before the exam board confirms your mark.

It is really important that you submit an EC form as soon as you realise that your studies are going to be impacted. Don’t wait until your results are released because you will then need to consider an academic appeal.


What can I do if my claim is not accepted?

Come and see ASK for advice on your options  - depending on why it was rejected, you may be able to submit a new claim. Otherwise, you could try appealing when results are released.